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Two landlords from Ilford and Kent must pay combined £40k over Barking and Dagenham homes

PUBLISHED: 17:00 09 March 2020

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Images

Snaresbrook Crown Court. Picture: John Stillwell/PA Images

PA Archive/Press Association Images

Two rogue landlords – including a solicitor – must pay a combined £40,000 after being taken to court by the council.

Siddarth Mahajan, of Milton Crescent, Ilford, was sentenced in 2019 to 12 weeks in jail for using forged documents in an attempt to prevent enforcement action over houses in multiple occupation (HMOs) in Barking.

He stood trial again at Snaresbrook Crown Court on Friday, February 28, for a confiscation hearing where Barking and Dagenham Council recovered £30,000.

Mahajan will receive a one year prison sentence if there is a default on payment. He has three months to pay.

The judge also ordered him to pay towards prosecution costs of £25,000, to be paid within nine months.

Cllr Margaret Mullane, cabinet member for enforcement and community safety, said: "I hope this serves as a stark warning to disreputable landlords that we will continue to come after them for their money even if they have been prosecuted.

"The council will not stand by and let people live in cramped properties harmful to their wellbeing. We will use every legal measure to ensure homes are of a decent standard, the integrity of the planning regime is maintained and dishonest landlords do not profit from their tenants' misery."

In a separate case, solicitor Kate Okoli, of Valley Drive, Kent, was fined £10,000, ending a three-year battle after she was first investigated in 2017 in relation to several properties.

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The 50-year old has since been prosecuted for failing to license premises in Hewett Road and Neville Road, Dagenham.

Okoli was invited by the council to license the properties but tried to convince town hall officers she lived in them.

However, the council obtained evidence of unlawful letting without a licence.

After receiving a summons in June 2017, Okoli applied for licences for both properties and claimed she had previously made them.

However, in July 2018 she was found guilty at Barkingside Magistrates' Court of illegally letting properties without the right licence.

During appeal, Okoli tried to provide evidence that she had applied and paid for licences for Hewett Road and Neville Road, but the court rejected it because it referred to different properties.

At Snaresbrook Crown Court, on February 21, the court dismissed her appeal.

She must pay £1,000 per offence and £8,000 in costs to the council.

Cllr Mullane said: "This is a great result."

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